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Publication numberUS20040235584 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/442,348
Publication dateNov 25, 2004
Filing dateMay 21, 2003
Priority dateMay 21, 2003
Also published asUS7267620, US7628712, US7850546, US7862452, US7871340, US20070293349, US20100048323, US20100096079, US20100099513
Publication number10442348, 442348, US 2004/0235584 A1, US 2004/235584 A1, US 20040235584 A1, US 20040235584A1, US 2004235584 A1, US 2004235584A1, US-A1-20040235584, US-A1-2004235584, US2004/0235584A1, US2004/235584A1, US20040235584 A1, US20040235584A1, US2004235584 A1, US2004235584A1
InventorsBing-Ling Chao, Todd Beach, Jabaarr Flukers, Citra Ie, Benoit Vincent
Original AssigneeBing-Ling Chao, Beach Todd P., Flukers Jabaarr A., Ie Citra A., Benoit Vincent
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf club head having a lightweight face insert and method of manufacturing it
US 20040235584 A1
Abstract
A golf club head having a composite face insert attached to a metallic body is provided. The club head preferably has a volume of at least 200 cc and provides superior durability and club performance. The face insert includes prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight (FAW) of less than 100 g/m2. The face insert preferably has a thickness less than 4 mm and a mass at least 10 grams less than an insert of equivalent volume formed of the metallic material of the body of the club head. A metallic cap with a peripheral rim is also provided to protect the ends of the composite material of the face insert. Related methods of manufacturing and alternative materials are disclosed. The resin content of the prepreg plies can be controlled through management of the timing and environment in which the resultant prepreg plies are cured and soaked.
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Claims(33)
We claim:
1. A golf club head, comprising:
a body defining a front opening; and
a face insert comprising prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight (FAW) of less than 100 g/m2, the face insert attached at and closing the front opening of the body;
wherein the face insert's total thickness is within a range of about 1 mm to about 8 mm.
2. A golf club head as defined in claim 1, wherein the face insert comprises a cap formed of a material with a density less than 5 g/cc, the cap covering a front surface of the prepreg plies and comprising a peripheral rim.
3. A golf club head having a volume of at least 200 cc, comprising:
a body having a crown, a skirt, and a sole, the body defining a front opening; and
a face insert having at least a portion comprising prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight (FAW) of less than 100 g/m2, the face insert closing the front opening of the body; wherein the face insert's total thickness is within a range of about 1 mm to about 8 mm, the golf club head having a coefficient of restitution of at least 0.79.
4. A golf club head as defined in claim 3, wherein:
the prepreg plies include carbon fiber reinforcement having a FAW of about 70 g/m2; and
the face insert's total thickness is within a range of about 3 mm to about 4 mm.
5. A golf club head as defined in claim 3, wherein the prepreg plies have a FAW of less than 70 g/m2.
6. A golf club head as defined in claim 5, wherein:
the prepreg plies include carbon fiber reinforcement having a FAW of about 50 g/m2; and
the face insert's total thickness is within a range of about 2.5 mm to about 4 mm.
7. A golf club head as defined in claim 5, wherein the body is at least partly formed of a metallic material and the mass of the face insert is at least 10 grams less than an equivalent volume of the metallic material of the body.
8. A golf club head as defined in claim 3, wherein the face insert comprises a metallic cap adhesively attached to the prepreg plies.
9. A golf club head as defined in claim 8, wherein the thickness of the prepreg plies is about 3.5 mm or less and the metallic cap's thickness is about 0.5 mm or less.
10. A golf club head as defined in claim 3, further comprising a layer of textured film co-cured with the prepreg plies, the layer of textured film thereby forming a front surface of the face insert.
11. A golf club head as defined in claim 10, wherein the layer of textured film comprises nylon fabric.
12. A golf club head having a volume of at least 200 cc, comprising:
a body having a crown, a skirt, and a sole, the body defining a front opening having an annular ledge; and
a face insert comprising:
a region formed of non-metallic material, and
a cap attached to a front surface of the non-metallic region, the cap comprising a peripheral rim having one or more segments extending around a periphery of the non-metallic region;
wherein the face insert is disposed on the annular ledge at the front opening of the body, the golf club head having a coefficient of restitution of at least 0.79.
13. A golf club head as defined in claim 12, wherein a bonding gap of no greater than 0.2 mm is maintained between the non-metallic region and the cap.
14. A golf club head as defined in claim 12, wherein the cap comprises a metallic material.
15. A golf club head as defined in claim 14, wherein the metallic cap comprises Ti-6Al-4V material.
16. A golf club head as defined in claim 14, wherein a thickness of the non-metallic region is about 3.5 mm or less and a thickness of the metallic cap is about 0.5 mm or less.
17. A golf club head as defined in claim 12, wherein the non-metallic region of the face insert comprises at least one material selected from the group consisting of a fiber-reinforced plastic, prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight of less than 100 μm, a chopped-fiber compound and an injection-molded polymer.
18. A method of manufacturing a golf club head having a volume of at least 200 cc, comprising:
forming a face insert at least partly including prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight (FAW) of less than 100 μm2;
forming a body having a crown, a skirt and a sole, the body defining a front opening, the body having an annular ledge recessed a depth D in the front opening; and
attaching the face insert to the front opening; wherein the face insert has a thickness less than the depth D of the annular ledge at the front opening of the body.
19. A method as defined in claim 18, wherein the step of forming the body comprises investment casting a titanium alloy.
20. A method as defined in claim 18, wherein the thickness of the face insert is within a range of about 2 mm to about 7 mm.
21. A method as defined in claim 18, wherein the annular ledge has a thickness of about 1.5 mm and extends between about 3 mm to 6 mm into the front opening.
22. A method as defined in claim 18, further comprising the steps of forming a metallic cap and attaching the cap to a front surface of the face insert, the combined thickness of the prepreg plies of the face insert and the cap being no greater than the depth D of the annular ledge at the front opening of the body.
23. A method as defined in claim 22, wherein the step of forming the metallic cap comprises forming a peripheral rim having a height substantially the same as the thickness of the face insert.
24. A method as defined in claim 22, wherein the steps of attaching the cap to the front surface of the face insert and attaching the face insert to the front opening of the body are performed in any order.
25. A method of manufacturing a golf club head, comprising:
forming a cured face insert including prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight of less than about 100 g/m2 and having a predetermined resin content, comprising the steps of:
stacking and cutting a plurality of plies of low FAW material to form an uncured face insert having substantially a final desired shape, bulge and roll,
placing the uncured face insert into a tool with an initial temperature T1,
curing the uncured face insert for about 5 minutes at a first pressure P1 then initiating heating the tool to a set temperature T2 greater than the initial temperature T1 and curing another 15 minutes at a second pressure P2 greater than the first pressure P1, thus obtaining the cured face insert,
continue forming the cured face insert at the set temperature and second pressure P2 for about 30 minutes, and
soaking the cured face insert for 5 minutes at a third pressure P3 less than the second pressure P2, such that the predetermined resin content is achieved;
forming a body defining a front opening; and
attaching the face insert to the front opening.
26. A method as defined in claim 25, wherein the third pressure P3 is greater than the first pressure P1.
27. A method as defined in claim 26, wherein the initial temperature T1 is about 200° F., the set temperature T2 is about 270° F., the first pressure P1 is about 15 psi, the second pressure P2 is about 200 psi and the third pressure P3 is about 20 psi such that the final resin content is between about 35% to about 40%.
28. A method as defined in claim 25, wherein the stacking of the plurality of plies of low FAW material comprises debulking at least twice for at least two minutes each time.
29. A method as defined in claim 28, wherein a final debulking comprises using a panel having the final desired bulge and roll.
30. A method as defined in claim 25, further comprising the step of forming a metallic cap comprising a peripheral rim having a height substantially the same as a thickness of the face insert.
31. A method of manufacturing a golf club head, comprising:
forming a cured face insert including prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight of less than about 100 g/m2 and having a predetermined resin content, comprising the steps of
stacking and cutting a plurality of plies of low FAW material to form an uncured face insert having substantially a final desired shape, bulge and roll,
placing the uncured face insert into a tool with an initial temperature T1 and raising the temperature to a set temperature,
curing the uncured face insert for about 5 minutes at a first pressure P1,
raising the pressure to a second pressure P2 and continue forming the cured face insert at the set temperature and second pressure P2 for about 15 minutes, and
soaking the cured face insert for about 20 minutes at a third pressure P3 less than the second pressure P2, such that the predetermined resin content is achieved;
forming a body defining a front opening; and
attaching the face insert to the front opening.
32. A method as defined in claim 31, wherein the initial temperature T1 is about 200° F., the set temperature T2 is about 270° F., the first pressure P1 is about 20 psi, the second pressure P2 is about 200 psi and the third pressure P3 is about 20 psi.
33. A method as defined in claim 31, further comprising the step of forming a metallic cap comprising a peripheral rim having a height substantially the same as a thickness of the face insert.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates generally to golf club heads and, more particularly, to a wood-type golf club head having a lightweight face insert.
  • [0002]
    Composite materials have long been recognized for combining many beneficial attributes of various types commonly used in golf club heads. Composite materials typically are less dense than other materials used in golf clubs. Thus, use of composite materials allows for more leeway in how weight is distributed about the club. It is often desirable to locate club weight away from the striking face. Thus, attempts have been made to incorporate composite materials in the club face.
  • [0003]
    Although such attempts have been generally effective for weight reduction, a number of shortfalls remain, such as durability, impact resistance and overall club performance. For example, prior composite club faces have often suffered from delamination, or peeling apart, of composite layers, greatly reducing the useable life of the club, particularly at interface regions between the composite material and other materials of the club head. Such problems have arisen even at relatively low impact levels, hit counts and in benign playing conditions. Attempts to resolve such problems often fail to provide satisfactory club performance, measured by factors such as coefficient of restitution (COR), particularly for wood-type club heads having a volume of at least 300 cc.
  • [0004]
    It should, therefore, be appreciated that there exists a need for a wood-type golf club head having composite material at the club face that is durable, can endure high level impacts and yet provide superior club performance. The present invention fulfills this need and others.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    The invention provides a golf club head having a lightweight face insert attached to a body that is at least partly formed of a metallic material, providing superior durability and club performance. To that end, the face insert comprises prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight (FAW) of less than 100 g/m2. The body preferably forms a volume of at least 200 cc. The face insert preferably has a thickness less than 4 mm and has a mass at least 10 grams less than an insert of equivalent volume formed of the metallic material of the body of the club head. The coefficient of restitution for the club head, measured in accordance to the United States Golf Association Rule 4-1a, is at least 0.79.
  • [0006]
    In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the face insert further includes a cap with a peripheral rim that is attached to a front surface of the composite region. Also preferably, the thickness of the composite region is about 4.5 mm or less and the metallic cap thickness is about 0.5 mm or less; more preferably the thickness of the composite region is about 3.5 mm or less and the metallic cap thickness is about 0.3 mm or less. The cap preferably comprises a titanium alloy. The face insert may alternatively comprise a layer of textured film co-cured with the plies of low FAW material, in which the layer of textured film forms a front surface of the face insert instead of the metallic cap. The layer of textured film preferably comprises nylon fabric. Without the metallic cap, the mass of the face insert is at least 15 grams less than an insert of equivalent volume formed of the metallic material of the body of the club head.
  • [0007]
    A preferred method of the present invention advantageously controls the resin content of the low fiber areal weight (FAW) composite material of the golf club face. The steps comprise:
  • [0008]
    stacking and cutting a plurality of prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight (FAW) of less than 100 g/m2 to form an uncured face insert having substantially a final desired shape, bulge and roll;
  • [0009]
    placing the uncured face insert into a tool with an initial temperature T1;
  • [0010]
    curing the uncured face insert for about 5 minutes at a first pressure P1 then initiating heating the tool to a set temperature T2 greater than or equal to the initial temperature T1 and curing another 15 minutes at a second pressure P2 greater than the first pressure P1, thus obtaining the cured face insert;
  • [0011]
    continue forming the cured face insert at the set temperature and second pressure P2 for about 30 minutes; and
  • [0012]
    soaking the cured face insert for 5 minutes at a third pressure P3 less than the second pressure P2, such that the desired resin content is achieved.
  • [0013]
    Alternatively, the tool temperature may be immediately raised to a set temperature T2 upon placement of the composite material therein, this temperature being held substantially constant over the soaking and curing phases. After an initial soaking time of about 5 minutes, the pressure is raised from a first pressure P1 to a second pressure P2 greater than the first pressure P1. After an additional time of about 15 minutes, the pressure is reduced to about the same value as the first pressure for about another 20 minutes.
  • [0014]
    For purposes of summarizing the invention and the advantages achieved over the prior art, certain advantages of the invention have been described above. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all such advantages may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.
  • [0015]
    All of these embodiments are intended to be within the scope of the invention herein disclosed. These and other embodiments of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments having reference to the attached figures, the invention not being limited to any particular preferred embodiment disclosed.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0016]
    Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the following drawings in which:
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a club head in accordance with the invention, depicting a composite face insert and a metallic body.
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the club head of FIG. 1.
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the composite region of the face insert of FIG. 1 showing the first and last two groups of plies.
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 4 is a close-up view of area A-A of the club head of FIG. 1, depicting a junction of face insert and body portion.
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 5 is a graph depicting resin viscosity over time during the soaking and curing phases for a preferred method for forming the composite portion of the insert of FIG. 1.
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 6 is a chart of pressure over time during the soaking and curing phases of forming the composite portion of the insert, corresponding to FIG. 5.
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 7 is a chart of temperature over time during the soaking and curing phases of forming the composite portion of the insert, corresponding to FIG. 5.
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 8 is a chart of pressure over time during the soaking and curing phases of an alternative method of forming the composite portion of the insert of FIG. 1.
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 9 is a chart of temperature over time during the soaking and curing phases of forming the composite portion of the insert, corresponding to FIG. 8.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0026]
    With reference to the illustrative drawings, and particularly FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a golf club head 10 having a metallic body 12 and a face insert 14 comprising a composite region 16 and a metallic cap 18. The face insert is durable and yet lightweight. As a result, weight can be allocated to other areas of the club, enabling the club's center of gravity to be desirably located farther from the face and to further enhance the club's moment of inertia values. The body includes an annular ledge 32 for supporting the face insert. With the face insert in place, the club head preferably defines a volume of at least 200 cc and more preferably a volume of at least 300 cc. The club head has superior durability and club performance, including a coefficient of restitution (COR) of at least 0.79.
  • [0027]
    With reference to FIG. 3, the composite region 16 of the face insert 14 is configured to have a relatively consistent distribution of reinforcement fibers across a cross section of its thickness to facilitate efficient distribution of impact forces and overall durability. The composite region includes prepreg plies, each ply having a fiber reinforcement and a resin matrix selected to contribute to the club's durability and overall performance. Tests have demonstrated that composite regions formed of prepreg plies having a relatively low fiber areal weight (FAW) provide superior attributes in several areas, such as, impact resistance, durability and overall club performance. More particularly, FAW values below 100 g/m2, or preferably 70 g/m2 or more preferably 50 g/m2, are considered to be particularly effective. Several of prepreg plies having a low FAW can be stacked and still have a relatively uniform distribution of fiber across the thickness of the stacked plies. In contrast, at comparable resin content (R/C) levels, stacked plies of prepreg materials having a higher FAW tend to have more significant resin rich regions, particularly at the interfaces of adjacent plies, than stacked plies of lower FAW materials. It is believed that resin rich regions tend to inhibit the efficacy of the fiber reinforcement, particularly since the force resulting from golf ball impact is generally transverse to the orientation of the fibers of the fiber reinforcement. Preferred methods of manufacturing, which aid in reducing resin rich regions, are discussed in detail further below.
  • [0028]
    Due to the efficiency of prepreg plies of low FAW, the face insert 14 can be relatively thin, preferably less than about 4.5 mm and more preferably less than about 3.5 mm. Thus, use of the face insert results in weight savings of about 10 g to 15 g over a comparable volume of metal used in the body 12 (e.g., Ti-6Al-4V). As mentioned above, this weight can be allocated to other areas of the club, as desired. Moreover, the club head 10 has demonstrated both superior durability and performance. In a durability test, the club head survived over 3000 impacts of a golf ball shot at a velocity of about 44 m/sec. In a performance test of the club's COR, measured in accordance with the United States Golf Association Rule 4-1a, the club head had a COR of about 0.828.
  • [0029]
    With continued reference to FIG. 3, each prepreg ply of the composite region 16 preferably has a quasi-isotropic fiber reinforcement, and the plies are stacked in a prescribed order and orientation. For convenience of reference, the orientation of the plies is measured from a horizontal axis of the club's face plane to a line aligned with the fiber orientation of the ply. A first ply 20 of the composite region is oriented at 0 degrees, followed by ten to twelve groups of plies (22, 24, 26) each having four plies oriented at 0, +45, 90 and −45 degrees, respectively. Thereafter, a ply 28 oriented at 90 degrees precedes the final or innermost ply 30 oriented at 0 degrees. In this embodiment, first and last plies are formed of a prepreg material reinforced by glass fibers, such as 1080 glass fibers. The remaining plies are formed of prepreg material reinforced by carbon fiber.
  • [0030]
    A suitable carbon fiber reinforcement comprises a carbon fiber known as “34-700” fiber, available from Grafil, Inc., of Sacramento, Calif., which has a tensile modulus of 234 Gpa (34 Msi) and tensile strength of 4500 Mpa (650 Ksi). Another suitable fiber, also available from Grafil, Inc., is a carbon fiber known as “TR50S” fiber which has a tensile modulus of 240 Gpa (35 Msi) and tensile strength of 4900 Mpa (710 Ksi). Suitable epoxy resins known as Newport 301 and 350 are available from Newport Adhesives & Composites, Inc., of Irvine, Calif.
  • [0031]
    In a preferred embodiment, the composite region includes prepreg sheets having a quasi-isotropic fiber reinforcement of 34-700 fiber having an areal weight of about 70 g/m2 and impregnated with an epoxy resin (e.g., Newport 301) resulting in a resin content (R/C) of about 40%. For convenience of reference, the primary composition of a prepreg sheet can be specified in abbreviated form by identifying its fiber areal weight, type of fiber, e.g., 70 FAW 34-700. The abbreviated form-can further identify the resin system and resin content, e.g., 70 FAW 34-700/301, R/C 40%. In a durability test, several plies of this material were configured in a composite region having a thickness of about 3.7 mm, and it survived over 3000 impacts of a golf ball shot at a velocity of about 44 m/sec. In another preferred embodiment, the composite region comprises prepreg plies of 50 FAW TR50S/350. This material was tested in composite region having a thickness of about 3.7 mm and it too survived a similar durability test.
  • [0032]
    With reference to FIG. 4, the face insert 14 has sufficient structural strength that excessive reinforcement along the interface of the metallic body 12 and the face insert is not required, which further enhances beneficial weight allocation effects. In this embodiment, the body is formed of a titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V; however, other suitable material can be used. The face insert is supported by an annular ledge 32 and is secured preferably with an adhesive. The annular ledge preferably has a thickness of about 1.5 mm and extends inwardly between about 3 mm to about 6 mm. The annular ledge is sufficiently recessed to allow the face insert to sit generally flush with a transition edge 34 of the body. Although, in this embodiment, the annular ledge is about the periphery of the front opening, it will be appreciated that other embodiments can utilize a plurality of spaced annular ledges, e.g., a plurality of tabs, to support the face insert.
  • [0033]
    With continued reference to FIG. 4, the metallic cap 18 of the face insert 14 includes a rim 36 about the periphery of the composite region 16. The rim covers a side edge 38 of the composite region to further protect against peeling and delamination of the plies. Preferably, the peripheral rim has a height substantially the same as the thickness of the face insert. In an alternative embodiment, the rim may comprise a series of segments instead of a continuous cover over the periphery of the composite region 16. The cap and rim may be formed, for example, by stamping or other methods known to those skilled in the art. A preferred thickness of the cap is less than about 0.5 mm, and more preferably, it is less than about 0.3 mm. However, in embodiments having a face insert without a metallic cap, weight savings of about 15 g can be realized.
  • [0034]
    The metallic cap defines a striking face 40 having a plurality of grooves 42. The cap further aids in resisting wear from repeated impacts with golf balls even when covered with sand. Preferably, a bond gap 44 of about 0.05 mm to 0.2 mm, and more preferably about 0.1 mm, is provided for adhesive attachment of the metallic cap to the composite region. The cap is preferably formed of Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloy; however, other titanium alloys or other materials having suitable characteristics can be employed. For example, a non-metallic cap, such as comprising injection-molded plastic, having a density less than 5 g/cc and a hardness value of 80 Shore D may be employed.
  • [0035]
    Composite Material Process
  • [0036]
    As mentioned above, it is beneficial to have a composite region that is relatively free of resin rich region. To that end, fiber reinforcement sheets are impregnated with a controlled amount of resin to achieve a prescribed resin content. This is realized, in part, through management of the timing and environment in which the fiber sheets are cured and soaked.
  • [0037]
    Prior to curing, plies of fiber sheets are cut and formed to a desired shape, bulge and roll. The plies are stacked in prescribed orientations (e.g. FIG. 3). It is not necessary to cut all of the plies together. For example, groups of four plies (FIG. 3) can be cut and, thereafter, stacked to form the final thickness. The desired shape is achieved through cutting, such as, die cutting. The desired bulged and roll is achieved through debulking, i.e., compaction. During debulking, the plies are compressed together to reduce air trapped between plies. Compression or compaction for about two minutes per step has been found to be effective.
  • [0038]
    The plies can be cut at least twice before achieving the desired dimensions. A preferred approach includes cutting plies to a first size, debulking the plies in two compression steps of about two minutes each. Thereafter, the plies are die cut to the desired shape, and compressed a third time; this time using a panel conformed to the desired bulge and roll. The plies are then stacked to a final thickness and compressed a forth time with the conformed panel for about three minutes. The weight and thickness are measured preferably prior to the curing step.
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIGS. 5-7 depict an effective soaking and curing profile for impregnating plies 70 FAW 34/700 fiber sheet with Newport 301 resin. Soaking and curing occurs in a tool having upper and lower plates. The tool is pre-layered with a mold release to facilitate removal and is pre-heated to an initial temperature (T0) of about 200° F. The initial soak period is for about 5 minutes, from t0 to t1. During the soak phase, the temperature and pressure remain relatively constant. The pressure (P1) is at about 15 psi.
  • [0040]
    Then, a first cure phase of about 15 minutes commences, from t1 to t2, during which the pressure climbs to about 200 psi (P2) and the temperature climbs to about 270° F. (T2). Once the temperature reaches about 270° F. (at t2), a post cure phase begins. The temperature is maintained for about 30 minutes. A final soaking/curing cycle is performed at a pressure (P3) of 20 psi for 5 minutes. The final resin content is about 37.5%. Over a total time, three different pressure levels are achieved in a timed manner with two different temperature levels. For other composites, the temperature and pressures may vary with their associate soaking times.
  • [0041]
    An alternative soaking and curing profile is depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9. In this process, the temperature of the tool is initially about 200° F. (T1) and upon placement of the composite material into the tool, the temperature is increased to about 270° F. (T2). The temperature is then kept constant. The initial pressure (P1) is about 20 psi. The initial soak period is for about 5 minutes, from to (0 sec.) to t′1. The pressure is then ramped up to about 200 psi (P2). The post cure phase lasts about 15 minutes (t′1 to t′2) and a final soaking/curing cycle is performed at a pressure (P1) of 20 psi for 20 minutes (t′2 to t′3).
  • [0042]
    Composite Face Roughness Treatment
  • [0043]
    In order to increase the surface roughness of the composite golf club face and to enhance bonding of adhesives used therewith, a layer of textured film can be placed on the material before curing. An example of the textured film is ordinary nylon fabric. Curing conditions do not degrade the fabric and an imprint of the fabric texture is transferred to the composite surface. Tests have shown that adhesion of urethane and epoxy, such as 3MŽ DP460, to the treated composite surface was greatly improved and superior to adhesion to a metallic surface, such as cast titanium alloy.
  • [0044]
    Typically, adhesion of the 3MŽ DP460 to a cast metallic surface is greater than to an untreated composite surface. When the face structure fails on impact, the adhesive peels off the composite surface but remains bonded to the metallic surface. With the present treatment of the composite surface, the situation is reversed—the 3MŽ DP460 peels off the metallic surface but remains bonded to the composite surface.
  • [0045]
    The enhanced adhesion properties of this treatment contribute to an improved fatigue life for the composite golf club face. In a test, a club head having an untreated face insert and a COR of about 0.847 endured about 250 test shots before significant degradation or failure occurred. In contrast, a similar club head having a treated face insert and a COR of about 0.842 endured over 2000 shots before significant degradation or failure occurred.
  • [0046]
    Alternatively, the improved texture may be incorporated into the mold surface. By doing so, the textured area can be more precisely controlled. For simple face plate joining to the opening of a cast body, the texture can be put on surfaces where shear and peel are the dominant modes of failure.
  • [0047]
    It should be appreciated from the foregoing that the present invention provides a club head having a composite face insert attached to a metallic body, forming a volume of at least 200 cc and providing superior durability and club performance. To that end, the face insert comprises prepreg plies having a fiber areal weight (FAW) of less than 100 μm2. The face insert preferably has a thickness less than 5 mm and has a mass at least 10 grams less than an insert of equivalent volume formed of the metallic material of the body of the club head. The coefficient of restitution for the club head is preferably at least 0.79.
  • [0048]
    Alternatively, the face insert may comprise any non-metallic material having a density less than a metallic material of the body along with a cap covering a front surface of the face insert and having a peripheral rim. For example, the face insert of the present invention may also comprise a composite material, such as a fiber-reinforced plastic or a chopped-fiber compound (e.g., bulk molded compound or sheet molded compound), or an injection-molded polymer either alone or in combination with prepreg plies having low FAW. The thickness may be substantially constant or it may comprise a variation of at least two thicknesses, one being measured at a geometric center and another measured near a periphery of the face insert. In one embodiment, for example, an injection-molded polymer disk may be embedded in a central region of a plurality of low FAW prepreg plies. The total thickness of the face insert may range between about 1 mm and about 8 mm, and preferably ranges between about 2 mm and about 7 mm.
  • [0049]
    In addition, the body of a club head in the present invention may be formed of a metallic material, a non-metallic material or a combination of materials, such as a steel skirt and sole with a composite crown, for example. Also, one or more weights may be located in or on the body, as desired, to achieve final performance characteristics for the club head.
  • [0050]
    Although the invention has been disclosed in detail with reference only to the preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate that additional golf club heads and related methods for manufacturing can be included without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is defined only by the claims set forth below.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/342
International ClassificationA63B53/04
Cooperative ClassificationY10T156/1062, A63B2209/02, A63B2053/0412, A63B2053/0416, A63B2209/023, A63B53/0466, A63B2053/0425, A63B2053/0408
European ClassificationA63B53/04L
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 21, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: TAYLOR MADE GOLF COMPANY, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHAO, BING-LING;BEACH, TODD P.;FLUKERS, JABAAR A.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:014099/0798;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030515 TO 20030520
May 13, 2008CCCertificate of correction
Feb 10, 2011FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Apr 24, 2015REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Sep 11, 2015LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Sep 11, 2015REINReinstatement after maintenance fee payment confirmed
Nov 3, 2015FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20150911
May 17, 2017FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
May 17, 2017SULPSurcharge for late payment